tv Political Capital With Al Hunt Bloomberg May 18, 2014 1:30pm-2:01pm EDT
>> this week on "political capital," ambassador thomas pickering on benghazi. julianna goldman and phil mattingly on backlog at the fed. and a discussion of hillary. ♪ >> we begin the program with a former united states ambassador to the united nations and almost every major country, thomas pickering. thank you for being with us.
we will get to many of the areas where you have expertise. you were head of the benghazi review board. is there a case for reopening that investigation? >> if there is, i have not seen it yet. i have been alert to this. when i took the job, i knew it was going to be a big issue that had great political overtones. and i tried to watch it very carefully, one of the things i did when i took the job, i tried to read every report that we did our job as well as we could. we did our job as well as we could. i am the last person to tell you we did everything perfectly. >> no one believes your board, your review board, got all of the information and documents. >> of course, we got information and documents on the five tasks we had under the law. for security.
we were not there to look at talking points. we were not there to look at what i would call event political hand wrestling. and so of course, there could be things that were not within our mandate because we did not get the material. they do not go to the basic attack. the second piece is that under the arrangements of the law, the fbi has responsibility for investigating criminal responsibilities. >> one of the things that critics cite is a memo from ben rhodes that said protests had nothing to do with broader areas of policy. would it have affected your report? >> probably not. we found failures of security. i guess you could find some of those that might have related to antiterrorist policies in a sense. if you are not secure, you are not secure against terrorists.
after looking at the question, our report speaks very well for itself and runs to all of those domains that connect security and terrorism. >> let's talk about iran. how would you assess the prospects for a nuclear accord, final agreement? >> if you had asked me this question six months ago and we are where we are now, i would say we are on the better side of good prospects. but the tough work is to come. it is to sit down and write a treaty and not discuss on both sides. i would say, both sides seemingly are working with this goodwill. something i did not expect to see honestly after 10 years of failed negotiations with iran and lots of foot dragging and what i will call position taking. not an effort to move.
they seem to be interested in moving. >> you seem pretty optimistic. >> the president said 50/50. i would not argue with the president. if i were looking back six months ago -- >> what are the impediments in tehran and washington? >> can we get the right arrangement on limits on centrifuges and enrichment and plutonium on inspection? on the u.n. inspection agency looking at past action. if we can get a good deal on those five elements, then impediments which are the opportunities of both sides will have to in effect face that this is a better deal than any of them had expected. we will have to give pretty heavily on the sanctions relief. they will have to give very heavily in my view on the issue of their nuclear program to make
sure that everybody knows that it is civilian and is civilian backed and within civilian limits and inspection system is working. >> you returned from a trip to israel. do you think israelis, the most likely treaty or resolution, do you anticipate that they will not be happy, they might oppose and defeat it? >> i went to israel with the purpose of talking to experts. and we did. all of us, probably about 45 israelis involved of all stripes and persuasions and groups. my view is that the israelis have a position now that is not compatible with the kind of agreement that we wish to reach. they wish to have a success in things that almost everybody agrees is not negotiable and probably not necessary to negotiate. secondly, israelis are israelis and they are smart as hell.
they are trying to figure out and do what way they can be most useful from their interest and affecting how the president approaches the negotiations taking place on the kinds of limits i was arranging and talking about. and they have then quite forward leaning. i think we will not get -- let's put it this way. the most extreme requirement in those areas. i think we will do pretty well in meeting what are the underlying needs of all of those requirements. then it's up to israel to say, does it meet our needs? and if so, why not? on that basis, whether they oppose it or not. we are putting in the process and effort to relieve them of what they have considered their most dangerous threat into the region and beyond for the last three or five years. and being able to do that is a
real accomplishment. >> another troubled part of the region is syria. the american policy is assad must go and tehran will not participate. is that a viable policy? >> two months ago, an old boss of mine, henry kissinger, said we ought to take a look at this conundrum on its side. and assad can be in at the beginning of negotiations but he should be out at the end. i have taken the view that iran for particular reasons, may have to be out at the beginning of the negotiations. i believe with their influence, they have to be in at the end. >> do you think putin will intervene in the elections and what should be the response if he does? >> i think putin is tempted to push the envelope as far as he can. i think our response has to be
firm. but i always thought our response should be before the may 25 election and a combination of one sitting down with mr. putin and the europeans and ukrainians and figuring out how we can meet his legitimate needs while meeting the legitimate needs of the ukrainians. that has to begin, in my view, with repairing the problem that led to the crisis. >> it is only 9 days away. >> we have to do it pretty soon. >> until the economy of the ukraine gets fixed, mr. putin is going to enjoy an obvious opportunity to have extraordinary influence. if we fix the economy of ukraine, hopefully together, then we can work out a set of arrangements in fixing that economy which in my view can also reassure ukrainians, all of them, they will get an equal
>> welcome back. president obama is going to roll out new environment standards. for more on that, julianna goldman and phil mattingly. what will we find out? >> this is legacy making time for the president. around june 2, he's expected to unveil the new rules to cut carbon emissions at coal plants. the coal industry is gearing up for a fight. it is unusual for the president to get out in front of the proposal side. it is before the rules are finalized and years before they are implemented by the states. it sends a strong signal to environmentalists and businesses while getting out all fronts, he is serious on getting this through. >> environmental groups will be terribly happy.
>> if you look at kentucky this week, allison grimes, the democratic candidate, there was an ad agains her that said obamacare, obama's agenda against coal plants. she fights back and said mitch mcconnell has not done enough to protect coal jobs. >> michael buggs attacked from the left. >> when he was a state lawmaker in georgia, he was pretty conservative on gay rights and the confederate flag. part of the deal that he made with some republican senators, it has progressives up in arms for a long time who have been frustrated with the president when has to do with judicial picks. a situation where you no longer have to deal with the filibuster. a conservative judge this week, chairman of the judiciary committee, saying he has not heard from the white house. and harry reid saying he is not
sure if he will bring it to the floor for the vote. >> let me ask about general shinseki. >> the allegations look pretty bad. he testified this week saying he is mad as hell. the white house chief said that there is no one angrier than the president. there are parallels here to obamacare and raises competency issues with the government there. and the administration, the white house, for the time being standing by the cabinet secretary. and allegations that veterans died while they were waiting for treatment and also allegations they were cooking the books. the v.a. were cooking the books with a secret list. that was pretty bad. >> phil mattingly, let me turn to you. fannie mae and freddie mac reform bill dead, right?
>> yes, it took a step forward. the senate panel approved. it is bipartisan. before the panel, the democrats, lost 6 of their crucial members, set it to not do what it wanted -- said it did not do what it wanted them to do. >> 2015? >> it is interesting. bob corker, a support of reforming the mortgage finances will always be in the discussions on trying to move bipartisan legislation so they are playing the game. the senator kennedy way of handling large pieces of legislation. you have a small window with the presidential election kicking up, maybe looking at 2017. >> let me switch to the federal reserve. there will be 4 vacancies. are they going to move? >> they are going to move
stanley fischer. they vacancy will open up at the end of june. that will leave three governors and that will be unheard of. there has been a much on capitol hill about this. >> they will move fischer. >> rand paul has made it clear that he will allow it to move forward, he wants to audit the fed bill. harry reid has the nuclear option. they are not going -- they have a number of nominees. >> the tea party finally won a primary in nebraska. is it back? >> it is a little bit complicated. in nebraska, some of the conservatives of the core tea party. they had a big win. karl rove supported him. shortly after he was declared the victor that night, coming
out with a memo saying people will try to tell the narrative it is tea party vs. establishment. that is not the case. this candidate appeals to both. republicans are trying to end the narrative. >> you said the magic word, karl rove. he said hillary clinton might have a traumatic brain injury. what is he up to? >> we have heard that. she had a 30 day hospital stay. >> but, this does 2 things. it puts it out there. and it flags for the clintons. if you ever thought it was easy, it is not. >> the clintons never say anything unintentionally. just last april, hillary said
>> welcome back. i'll get to megan and margaret in a moment. but first, out to jerusalem where my colleague is standing by. you had a visitor over there, chuck hagel, charged to ensure israelis that the relationship is strong as ever. have you convinced them? >> there are serious differences between the obama administration and prime minister netanyahu over the talks. of course, the prime minister insisted that iran have no nuclear enrichment capabilities in order to create nuclear weapons. this is the p5+1 willing to give iran something -- they have not taken that step.
>> another topic. israel is conducting a major spying operation against the u.s. what can you tell us? does it have credibility? >> the officials i spoke to are furious about these allegations put forward by anonymous u.s. officials. they see it really as a vindictive campaign against israel. they deny completely as related to an effort by israel to get visa waivers for its tourists. it is adding to the tension that is already there between the obama administration and netanyahu government. >> another tension is the palestinians peace talks. john kerry is saying they have not collapsed. many people think they have to. >> there's a lot of skepticism in israel. they will keep this track with the palestinian leader. you hear from officials
including prime minister netanyahu criticizing abbas for the collapse of the talks. if abba's party brings hamas, who they considered terrorists, that'll be the end of these talks. >> the former prime minister was sentenced to six years in the slammer for corruption charges. did that rattle the country? >> the president said, it is a sad day. certainly, he is the latest in a list of senior israeli officials including the former president who was convicted of rape charges. they are trying to look at the glass half full, that israel is a true democracy. >> thank you. it says the good things about israel and the system of
justice. let's return to you all now. there are questions about hillary's health and age. was the age issue a cheap shot? >> i do not think it is a cheap shot given what we know about reagan's alzheimer's. and it probably affected his ability to be president. the fact is cognitive decline happens as you get older. it is a legitimate question. the way karl rove raised it legitimately? that is a separate issue. he could handle it differently. >> dr. rove lost his mind. he did not need to raise it. it makes him look desperate. because, listen, the press will raise it eventually. they so fear hillary, they have to scare her out of the race. the other thing is, republicans first said she was faking her concussion.
not that she actually has something that caused her brain damage. but he has a lot to make up for to the republican party given how he spent the money last time. >> jill abramson, the editor of the new york times, was allegedly being too aggressive and pushy. is it a case of gender discrimination? >> big time. she had the characteristics of a great editor and many thought she was. the idea is a woman leans in and asks about pay and the differential, that is pushing to be fired, that is awful. >> given how much "the new york times" has pushed on equal pay. what is really striking is the way she was fired.
not that women cannot do a bad job and get fired like men, the way she was pushed out. jayson blain, who fabricated stories, he was pushed out. they said nice things about him. and how he resigned for the good of the paper. in contrast, jill abramsom did not get to address the newsroom and they went out of their way to say she was fired and did a bad job. it's hard for me to believe that has no element. >> i think you are absolutely right. i have never seen something happen quite as badly. i want to tell you, i have been in this business for a long time, and i have never met a better journalist than jill abramson and she got a terribly raw deal. we have total agreement. >> sorry, al. >> thank you for watching. we will see you next week.
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